Eight ways for candidates to accept the Trumpian Bargain
Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. – President Donald Trump, Nov. 7, 2017
Even Jesus Christ Himself, while alive, didn’t tell his disciples “embrace me.” As John tweeted, Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”
“Embrace me” sounds like the last words Faust heard before signing over his soul to Beetlejuice for a few beautiful years on earth before suffering eternal hellfire excruciation in Gehenna as an NRA lobbyist.
If Ed Gillespie lost the Virginia gubernatorial race to Democrat Ralph Northam because he failed to completely embrace Trump, I’d say, at least his soul is saved.
Gillespie clearly is a smart, decent, straightforward guy, politically astute and moderate, common-sense, solution-driven, and cut from the old-school, decent, respectable Republican cloth.
I once had the privilege to work alongside him. I greatly respect his political experience, policy acumen, and spirit of public service. He’s a nice guy to boot, and even as a Democrat, I think he would have made a solid, get-things-done governor.
For decent politicians — and most are — embracing Trump has got to be challenging. Most of Congress, especially the GOP majority, struggles every day. They have their own deal with Diablo.
But as America looks forward to the next circle of hell — the 2018 mid-terms — the message from the Breitbart/Fox/alt-right amen chorus to GOP candidates is be more like Trump.
I’m no political consultant, but if that’s the right advice, I have eight tips:
1. Suit up as an angry hard-core America First nativist ideologue. Get a gun, preferably a Colt LE6920 tactical assault rifle, and say you need it for defense against liberal government tyranny and the oncoming anti-fascist antifa apocalypse. Call on any high school acting classes or Google videos on the Stanislavski, Meisner, Stasberg or other Method Acting techniques to summon your inner mean asshole even if you’re normally kind of milquetoast. Harness your anger! We all have it! Make it work for you and voters!
2. Understand that it’s not shameless anymore to be a shameless demagogue that exploits fears, anger and resentment to whip up crowds. Point fingers, create and denigrate false enemies, and divide people politically — even if they’re lifelong friends, family or neighbors — so viciously that loved ones are no longer on speaking terms and Thanksgiving dinners are ruined or called off.
3. Pick at scabs on unhealed national wounds. Healing is for losers. Don’t avoid provoking needless conflict. As Bob Marley said, stir it up!
4. Don’t just dog-whistle white supremacists, everyday secret racists and others who worry about the browning of America and blame immigrants and other non-whites for the loss of white privilege. Embrace the new white victims, even if their plight arises from capitalist industrial/economic change and not liberal social policies and Black Lives Matter. Defend and comfort these folks. They’re people too. Who vote. And share their views IN ALL CAPS on social media.
5. Promise oddly willing believers a pig in a poke you can’t possibly deliver. Pledge that you’ll fix Washington, politics and social issues like nobody else can. Once elected, blame others — even political allies you insulted — for not delivering on your promise.
6. Insult people, places and things on Twitter every day. Type and hit send at 3 a.m. when you can’t sleep and your mind is clear.
7. Call people who question you — even your friends — awful names that the kids who bully your kids call them. Choices include loser, low-life, crude dope, really sad, a total joke, flunky, no-talent, weak, ineffective, disloyal, psycho, etc. Your supporters might not like your tweeting, and think it undermines your ability to deliver on your campaign promises, but they know your heart’s in the right place and love how you’re shaking things up.
8. Forget decency, decorum and diplomacy, even if you had conservative Republican parents or schools and coaches who taught good social manners. This old-school stuff we expected from America’s elected leaders is for losers, dopes and really sad total jokes, flunkies, and no-talent weak ineffective disloyal psychos.
Good luck, 2018 candidates. The forces of good and evil both beckon for your embrace. Choose well. The country awaits the fate you shape.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.